Throughout its existence and time on the TV, Breaking Bad was largely considered one of the best and most highly-rated shows each and every week with its brilliant acting, fantastic atmosphere and killer cliffhangers.
Throughout the series, we see Walter White “break bad” and show that he is a true genius, whether it be as a good guy or a bad guy. These 10 moments truly show how much of a genius Walter was throughout the show. Check them out, but be warned, this list obviously contains many spoilers.
10. Vamonos Pest – Various Episodes
Vamonos Pest is a fumigation company in the show that was purchased by Walter White, Jesse Pinkman and Mike Ehrmantraut from a man named Ira. The company was purchased with the sole purpose of being a front for Walt and Jesse’s meth manufacturing operation. This was an absolutely genius move by Walt and company because it allowed them to essentially have a mobile meth lab, which could be done in any house in broad daylight with the use of the typical fumigation tent that pest companies always use. This allowed Walt and his gang to cook in peace, not raise suspicion in the neighborhood and avoid detection from the authorities.
9. Train Heist – S5E5 – “Dead Freight”
This moment appears in the episode “Dead Freight,” which is one of the better episodes in the series. The episode focuses on Walt, Jesse, Mike and Todd as they elect to rob a train out in the middle of nowhere. Their reasoning for robbing the train is to steal methylamine from the tanker on the train in order to use it to produce more meth. Their plan is to replace the methylamine they steal with water so the crew transporting the tankers won’t notice the change in weight. This is brilliant move by Walt, as it not only saves his crew a ton of money by stealing the methylamine, but his plan to steal it also works flawlessly, which shows he is just a step ahead of everyone else in the show.
8. Scaring The Schwartz’s – S5E16 – “Felina”
This Walter White genius moment occurs in the series finale, titled “Felina.” Here is a little bit of a backstory on this scene: A few years back, Walter White was the co-founder of a company called Gray Matter Technologies with Elliot Schwartz. While Walt was on the run in season five, he watches an interview on TV where Elliot basically discredits Walt and says he had no real part in the company. This obviously infuriates Walt and leads to this genius moment. Walt confronts the Schwartz’s at their house and gives them $9.72 million, which he instructs them to give to Walt Jr. once he turns 18, or they will be killed. The true genius in the scene is missed by some, but this scene shows that Walt has finally found a foolproof plan to support his family financially once he is gone.
7. 38 Pounds, 1.2 Million Dollars, 1 hour – S2E11 – “Mandala”
This is another extremely underrated moment of genius from Walter White. In this scene, Walt receives a text that just states “POLLOS,” which means a deal is about to go down at Los Pollos Hermanos, a local chicken joint that is a front for meth dealing. When he arrives, he is told he has one hour to come up with the meth in exchange for the money to make the deal work. Not expecting such a small window in which to make the deal go down, Walt uses his genius and quick thinking to get into Jesse’s house, wake him up and get the meth, or risk never having the deal go down at all. But his most genius moment comes when he decides to go through with the deal rather than see his own child being born, which signifies that he is a real evil genius at this point.
6. Blowing Up Tuco’s Pad – S1E6 – “Crazy Handful of Nothin’”
This was one of the first moments in the series where we truly see how much of a genius Walt is. In this moment, Walt is visiting notorious and extremely dangerous drug kingpin Tuco at his pad and headquarters. They are making a deal and neither Walt nor Tuco want to budge on their demands. Walt then takes things up a notch when he uses fulminated mercury to blow up Tuco’s HQ and shows that he is not to be messed with. This genius move pays off as Tuco agrees to Walt’s terms and they make a deal for the next batch of meth.
5. The Call to Skyler – S5E14 – “Ozymandias”
This extremely tense scene takes place in the perhaps the best episode in the series, and one of the best episodes in television history. This moment is so genius that it likely went completely unnoticed by a large portion of the people watching at home. In this scene, Walt is fresh off of running away from home and taking his daughter with him. While police are listening onto the call at home, Walt begins to berate his wife and chastises her cruelly about not knowing about the extent of his crimes and a variety of other things. As the call goes on, we realize that Walt is doing nothing more than providing an alibi for his wife and family so they can avoid legal troubles.
4. Prison Massacre – S5E8 – “Gliding Over All”
This is one of the more brutal scenes in the series, and shows that there is no doubt anymore that Walter White is a vicious man with violent tendencies. In this moment, Walt decides that 10 men inside of various prisons need to die to satisfy the wishes of a business partner in order for a deal to go down. He consults with Todd’s uncle Jack and his associates to devise a plan. What follows is a montage scene of 10 separate inmates in three different prisons being killed in two minutes. The fact that Walt was able to orchestrate this plan and set it into motion shows the viewer that he is now a far cry from the chemistry teacher he once was.
3. Walt Poisons Brock – S4E12 – “End Times”
If you were to find Walt’s most evil moment in the entire series, it would be this, without a doubt. But this moment also shows real genius from Walt, despite how terrible it was. In this moment, Brock suddenly gets taken to the hospital and is seemingly poisoned. At first, we are unsure of who poisoned him, but as the story develops, it is assumed that Walt did so, as the plant that Brock was poisoned with is found in Walt’s backyard. This is a true evil genius move by Walt, as he is able to turn Jesse on Gus by convincing him that Gus was responsible for Brock’s poisoning, which gets Jesse back on Walt’s side.
2. Walt Kills Gus – S4E13 – “Face Off”
Once the business relationship between Walter White and Gustavo Fring went sour, Walt had to deal with the problem in the best way he knows how, by getting rid of it. Gus is a very smart and aware man, so catching him off guard would not be easy, but Walt, being the genius that he is, managed to do it. He rigged Hector’s wheelchair in the nursing home with a bomb that is set off by ringing the bell on his wheelchair. By the time Gus realizes what’s up it’s too late, and the biggest antagonist of the series is killed.
1. Trunk Mounted Machine Gun – S5E16 – “Felina”
And now we have come to the most genius moment of Walter White on Breaking Bad, and it’s fitting that it came within one of the last scenes of the show. The moment begins as Walt is led into the neo-Nazi compound and then into a room with a dozen or so men; he is clearly outnumbered and could be in for a world of trouble if the deal doesn’t go down right. Then, Walt feigns anger and tackles Jesse to the ground and simultaneously hits the trunk open button on his keys. The trunk opens, which triggers a mounted machine gun to begin to shoot into the room and kill/injure the Nazis. This is Walt’s most genius moment, as he not only mounted the gun, but had to park the car and cause a distraction for it all to work.